French Equatorial Africa (French: Afrique Équatoriale Française, or AEF) is a colonial federation reuniting four French colonies in Central Africa. It was estabilished in 1910 and reformed after the creation of the Third French Empire, to streamline and centralize its administration, and granted a limited degree of representation for natives into French politics. The AEF borders with the Arab Federation to its east, Italy to its north, French West Africa and the British colony of Nigeria to its west, the German colony of Cameroon to its southwest, the Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to its south, and the Portuguese colony of Angola and German East Africa to its south.
A vast territory, French Equatorial Africa ranges from the deserts of northern Chad to the thick forests of Congo to the south. It is inhabited by several different ethnicities and tribes: to the north, they are mainly Muslim, but to the south Catholicism is prominent because of the work of European missionaries. Its economy is as varied as its territory: some areas are predominantly industrial, while there are large areas that are not industrialized at all.
French colonial ventures in the region started in the early 18th years, and the federation reached its current borders during the Scramble for Africa, during which France immensely enlarged the borders of its colonial empire. Today, four colonies make up the federation: